What is the question to which vaccine passports are the answer?

Apr 6, 2021 by

by Paul Goodman, Conservative Home:

Over half a century ago, a pub landlord could explicitly discriminate against anyone wishing to enter his premises – for whatever reason.  Those who oppose the Equality laws as a restraint on freedom are likely to take the same view of vaccine passports.

So it is an irony that the workings of the second will be made problematic by the provisions of the first – at least, without a state-run scheme in place (and perhaps even then).

No service provider who discriminates against those who have been advised not to vaccinate, such as pregnant women, and perhaps too against those who refuse the vaccine for reasons of conscience, would last long in court.  The same goes for employers – with knobs on.  Which can lead to only one of two outcomes.

First, our imaginary landlord doesn’t attempt his own vaccine passports at all.  Or else provides for exceptions and exemptions which make them difficult to police effectively.  While the landlord next door does something else entirely.

Boris Johnson clearly believes that a state-run scheme is preferable to this looming freelance chaos (as many voters would surely see it).  So, first things first: there is talk of governments banding together to require a uniform state-licensed document for travel abroad.  We’ll believe that when we see it.

And look forward to the domestic reaction if or when the EU, for example, insists on British citizens producing such a document as a condition of entry into member states.

But until or unless that happens, governments abroad will continue to demand, as part of their border control measures, a range of documents to cover a range of conditions – as now.  Indonesia will continue to require proof of vaccination against polio; the Phillipines, for meningitis; Brazil, for yellow fever.

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